As we move deeper into 2020 one thing is for sure, the travel bug is still well and truly alive. As travel continues to become more accessible to us all via cheaper flights, relaxed visa restrictions, and the increasing number of interesting destinations on offer, more and more people are taking to the skies.
With travel being so popular there are often travel trends for each new year offering a fresh perspective on how and where we travel. This year is set to be dominated by trends that reflect our need to reduce our impact on the environment and improve sustainability.
Here are the top travel trends for 2020.
- Sustainable Travel
Ok, so this one was predictable. As climate change continues to dominate the headlines across the world, we are all becoming more aware of our personal impact on the planet. Every aspect of our current lifestyles is being challenged and that includes the way we travel.
As you can expect, not flying at all is the best thing you could do for the planet. Flying uses an immense amount of carbon emissions that would require you to plant thousands of trees to offset. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t fly all. Flying less is a much more practical approach, using alternative methods of transport wherever possible. Trains, buses, ferries, and cars are all significantly less damaging to the planet than aeroplanes.
Transport is the main factor to consider when travelling but it doesn’t stop there. You can also try travelling light and only take carry on luggage. This reduces the amount of weight on planes and can help somewhat with emissions.
Avoiding all plastic is another good way to travel sustainably. Instead, take reusable cutlery, water bottles, and coffee mugs. Plastic takes a huge toll on our planet both to produce (using petroleum) and when thrown away taking almost 500 years to decompose.
- Avoiding Animal Tourism
More than ever we are becoming aware of the unethical practices behind many of the things we enjoy when travelling. Whether it’s taking photographs with tigers, riding elephants or swimming with whales it’s important to realize that these animal tourism experiences are not all that they seem.
Elephants are brutally trained from a young age so that you can ride them. Baby monkeys are taken away from their mothers to be used as a photo prop. Tigers are fed heavy sedatives so you can take that infamous traveller selfie.
This year, many people are waking up to these unethical animal tourism traps. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any experience that uses a wild animal for entertainment to make money or for personal gain. Animals are not human entertainment.
If you want to see wild animals on your travels make sure you book experiences with reputable companies that do not exploit or hold their animals captive. Visit reputable animal sanctuaries who are working hard to protect animals from these animal tourist traps.
- Vegan Hotels
Veganism was one of the hottest topics of 2019. It’s no wonder then that this newfound popularity has transferred into the travel industry. Travelling vegans (and non-vegans) can now stay at vegan exclusive hotels and resorts.
Any travelling vegan will tell you the difficulties in getting a good meal in some countries, especially those with local cuisine that is meat and dairy-focused. Now, vegans can ensure they get a good meal by staying in accommodation that reflects their personal values and provides delicious plant-based foods.
If you think these vegan places are just for vegans you are wrong. Non-vegans are welcome too and you may just be surprised at how great the food is.
- Staying at Home
As mentioned in point one, the best way to reduce your carbon footprint when travelling is to not fly at all. Many of those who are happy to not fly this year are instead deciding to stay at home and explore their own backyard. Think about it, how much of your own country have you actually seen and experienced?
We are all very quick to jump on a 14-hour flight to the white beaches of Bali or the bustling cities of India. But many of us already live in fascinating countries surrounded by other fascinating countries also.
This year, why not save yourself a small fortune, reduce your carbon footprint and instead take a road trip around your home country? Explore places you have never been, meet fellow citizens from the opposite coast, even jump over the border to your neighbouring countries and reconnect with your local environment.
- Slow Travel
Have you ever seen those stories of people that visited 250 countries in just 12 months? Well, slow travel is the complete opposite of that and it comes with way more benefits. When you slow travel you stay in your destinations longer from a few weeks up to 6 months at a time. Why? Because moving around frequently has a huge impact on the environment in regards to all the transport you require to get around.
Not only is better for the environment to travel slowly but you get a more fulfilling experience also. Spending a large amount of time in one place allows you to really soak in the local culture, meet people, learn some of the languages and enjoy a temporary living experience.
Can you really experience an entire country and their culture in just a few days or weeks? Of course not! Slow travel makes it possible though and the travel industry is evolving to support this type of travelling too.
Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and Booking all offer long term rental deals for accommodation. Not only can you stay in your desired destinations longer but you can stay in some of the most unique and interesting accommodations in the city. Not to mention meeting locals who can help guide you around the city and meet new people, don’t forget to budget for these travel extras.